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Measure What’s Important: Body Comps Explained

Peter Drucker famously once said, “if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it.”

The problem is sometimes we measure the wrong things. We've all heard that the scale lies. So what body comps should we pay attention to?

Why does the scale lie?

The scale lies because our weight is made up of roughly half water. In addition, fat weighs more than muscle per volume. Simply tracking our weight is a frustrating and misleading endeavor.

To track just weight would be akin to accepting a raise to move to New York City only to find out with cost of living adjustments we lose money. Instead, we want to track metrics in relation to one another.

How is our fat decreasing and muscle increasing?

What is our metabolism doing?

What are attainable goals based on my frame size and body type?

For this, we need an understanding of body comps. So let's break down some of the body composition measurements. Then at the end, I’ll link to some free online tools you can use for goal setting and tracking progress.

Body Water: This should be roughly around 50%. However, it's worth understanding how it changes in relation to prior weigh-ins. For instance, let's say you weigh in 2 lbs more than last check but notice your body water is up 1%. If you weigh 200 lbs,then nothing changed but your water. Which means? Nothing changed!

Body Fat % - Total Weight: Fat Free Bodyweight (water, bone, muscle,etc) = overall fat/overall weight X 100. Don't worry where this starts-- just track progress.

BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate: This is the number of calories your body needs to sustain itself. The higher your muscle to fat ratio, the higher your BMR. It's interesting to note that generally to have a BMR of 2000+ calories (the often mentioned daily number), you'd have to be a 6ft 200lb+ male. Most have a BMR well under 2000 cal.

IDW: Modern ideal body weight calculators are generally better to look at than BMI. I'll link to a good one below, but understand it more as an ideal goal than an initial goal. Ideal body weight is the optimal weight based on a number of factors that will help achieve greatest life expectancy.

Body Type and Frame Size: Knowing your body type and frame size will help understand what healthy measurements to pursue. You'll find a link to a quick free calculator for this below.

Visceral Fat: The fat on the “inside” that we often can’t feel but is the most dangerous. However, it burns first and faster than subcutaneous fat.

Subcutaneous Fat: This is the fat you can see and feel below the skin. Once the body burns off excess visceral fat, it starts to burn subcutaneous fat.

Skeletal Muscle: This is the type of muscle we are trying to grow!

Links to some sweet calculators and tools:

Weight Loss Calculator (per week and month) -

For more help and guidance on this, visit us at the gym, and we can do a deeper dive.

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